On Wednesday, I was one of about 30 people who ponied up $250 to rent the track, and I made six hits – as both the car and I hadn’t been on the track in almost six months. The first hit was without any weight or adjustments. I did a low 9.50s pass and my standard 1.33ish 60′. I didn’t feel like front end was coming up as high as it should, so I took 6 clicks out of the front shocks. The second hit was about the same numbers, but the front-end came up higher. The weather was real good Wednesday with the “Corrected Altitude” at about 75′. I knew that the weekend wouldn’t be near that good, and so the 9.5 Index wasn’t going to be a reality. The next Index up is 9.75. I Ioaded the weight boxes up with 200 pounds for the third hit.
HOLY CRAP! The front-end came up at least twice as high as the highest wheelie I’ve ever done. I haven’t gotten around to putting wheelie bars on the car, and I thought I was going to blow over – so I shifted to second early to bring front-end back down. Remarkably, I did a low 9.6 with all of the weight I could legally put in the boxes. I figured that to be a fluke. For the fourth hit, I put six clicks back into the front shocks. I went back out and did the second highest wheelie of my life – but I rode it out. The car did high 9.5s with all of the weight.
I realized that 9.75 was too far away, so I took the weight back out and figured I had to find a way to do a 9.39 at 75′ to be 9.50 at 2200′ on Sunday. I made adjustments on the four Idle mixture screws on the carbs and went back for another hit. I usually run 13.5 pounds of air in my slicks, but I must have mismeasured in the pits as one slick only had 12.7 pounds – so I equalized. The car did a 1.29 60′, which the previous best had been 1.32. I ran a 9.42, which was getting close. For the sixth and last hit of the day, I swapped the four stiff Orange metering rod springs in the carbs for more loose yellow springs. I also lowered the air in my slicks to 12.5 and got my 9.39 seconds with a 1.28 60′. The track shut down, so no more passes, but I felt good with a 9.39.
Thursday was the day that NMCA took over the track, and you can buy two hits fir $25., but I didn’t take them. I established credentials, teched the car i, and cleaned it up before putting it away. Doug & Anne Duell had a little soiree at their house for NSS racers Thursday evening.
Friday we had a Time Trial in the Morning, and the first qualifying was scheduled at 2pm. We’re always the first class out in the morning. Again my air gauge screwed me up and when I got in the lanes and checked my air pressure, I only had 10 pounds in the left slick. So I had to make a hit with only 10psi. When I got back and shut the car off, I heard clunking. I wasn’t sure if it was the flexplate bolts to torque converter had loosened, the starter motor crapped out, or if a motor. Turned out to be flexplate. I fixed, put charger on car, and pumped up left slick to 15psi so I could check for leak. I then went inside to clean up and eat lunch.
So at about 1pm I’m having lunch in my coach, when I see Frees and Lang going down the track. I look and see that Duell’s car is also gone. I’d obviously missed the call. So I fly out the door, tear the charger off and head for the lanes without checking the tire pressure, weather station, or weight in the boxes. I’m getting dressed while driving and hoping I’d have time to check to adjust air in slicks, as I knew I last had 15# in one and 10# in the other. However, As I got to the lanes, Brent Wheeler was last and pulling up to stage as a solo, as he’d blown both front tires in the previous run. It was line up or turn around. So I’m still putting my gloves and neck brace on while doing my burn out, knew one slick had 150% if the air of the other, and was next to someone with new tires and wheels on his car. My launch sucked, I had to make big corrections, and broke out with a 9.49+.
Back in the pits, I put the car on the lift and Doug put his death grip on the flexplate bolts.
Saturday morning I take the car out of the trailer at 6:45am to get ready for our 8:30 call to the lanes. I’m a creature of habit who puts his hoods pins on the studs they pin on when open, and put in on when I close the hood. The night before when we were doing the TC bolts, Doug opened the hood, put the pins on the bench, and also closed the hood. I knew I had to put the pins in, and told myself to do first thing in morning. I didn’t. While taking car down return road pretty fast, the hood opened an blew off.
Barry Dorn saw it happen and carted my hood back to my pit. Doug and Bruce Lang helped me rivet the pieces together and I used a roll of duct tape to tape it to the car. Good guys are all of the NSS Racers.
We finished just as they called us for the second qualifying, and I squeaked out a 9.514, which was good for third qualifier.
The track was horribly prepped for the last qualifying, as they’d made 300 street tire passes and only did a cursory rub before sending us down. I spun horribly (as did everyone), and was bumped to 4th.
That put me against Brent wheeler in first round Sunday.
Bottom line was I was a first round runner up, as Brent put an .018 light on me that I couldn’t overcome. So we loaded up and made the ride of shame off the track, for the 1100 mile trip home.
Back home, the car’s had it’s oil changed, slicks swapped, car washed, a couple small repairs, and the hood is halfway ready to go to painter. the bracing has been done, and tomorrow the cleanup layers applied and sanding. Painter gets tomorrow night, hopefully.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!